, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 552-560
Date: 01 Apr 2005

Psychosocial Predictors of Success following Bariatric Surgery

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Background: Bariatric surgery is the treatment of choice for morbid obesity, but it does not lead to equal results in every patient. In addition to surgery, a number of non-surgical and psychological factors may influence patients' ability to adjust to the postoperative condition. Understanding the relationship between potential predictive variables and success after bariatric surgery will enable better patient selection, and the development of interventions to improve outcome. Methods: A systematic literature search identified relevant variables, such as demography, preoperative weight, motivation, expectations, eating behavior, psychological functioning, personality, and psychiatric disorders, which may have predictive value for success after bariatric surgery. Results: Greater success following bariatric surgery appears to occur in patients who are young and female, and have a high self-esteem, good mental health, a satisfactory marriage, and high socio-economic status, who are self-critical and cope in a direct and active way, are not too obese, were obese before the age of 18, suffer from and are concerned about their obesity, have realistic expectations and undisturbed eating behaviors. Occasionally, these variables may have poor or no predictive value. Although reliable predictors are lacking, most treatment teams propose their own exclusion criteria. Conclusion: The existing literature about potential predictors of success after bariatric surgery is far from conclusive; it is still uncertain which factors can predict success. Even where psychosocial functioning does not predict outcome, it is important to identify patients' characteristics which may be linked to their prognosis and to provide necessary pre- and postoperative psychosocial interventions.